The fight for survival has been won: after a prolonged dry spell, Bonn-based Solarworld is modernising and expanding its production facilities in Germany. The former industry leader plans to retrofit its solar cell production line in Freiberg (Saxony) to use the more efficient PERC technology. The initials stand for Passivated Emitter Rear Cell – in other words, a cell which has been optimised by means of special layers applied to the back.
Modules using PERC cells can reach capacities of up to 280 watts (W), compared to 260 W for conventional panels. Meanwhile, Solarworld is also expanding its production site in Arnstadt (Thuringia). A year on from its acquisition of Bosch’s former cell and module factory, the company plans to open an additional production line for ingots – the silicon blocks which are sliced into wafers to make solar cells. According to the company, the upgrade will create 70 new jobs in Arnstadt.
Solarworld has good reason to expand: business is booming in the US, France, Great Britain and Japan. “We expect our global sales volume to rise by 55 percent to over 1 gigawatt (GW) in 2015,” says company boss Frank Asbeck.
This is an abridged version of the article – the full text is available in new energy issue 03/2015.
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